Baby's First Library: 20 Books You Should Include

Books are great instruments to build a child’s creativity and imagination. Here is a list of some of the best first books for your baby that she will enjoy and you will love to read to her

By Melani

Baby's First Library: 20 Books You Should Include

Books are our best friends for life. For small children, they are the gateway to the beautiful world outside and exciting adventures between the pages. It is never too early to start reading to your infant - she will find your voice soothing, and it will help her develop her listening skills.

As your baby grows, introduce her to a variety of exciting children’s books that  introduce animals and objects, their textures, shapes, colours and lay the foundation for early learning. Most important of all, it will help you to develop a strong bond with your child.

Here are a few book recommendations for building your infant's library -

1. Baby Animals: Black and White

Author: Phyllis Limbacher Tildes

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Age Recommendations: 0-6 months

It is a charming board book that introduces your little one to baby animals and is quite popular as the first book for babies. The black and white and high contrast images are sure to capture your newborn’s attention and put a smile on her face. It would be a perfect book for feeding and sleep time from 0-6 months.

2. Look and Say Farm

Author: Felicity Brooks

Publisher: Usborne

Age Recommendations: 6-18 months.

The Look and Say series from Usborne are colourful board books that come in interesting titles such as Farm, Birthday, Town, Beach, Home, School and so on. These books have tabs with images, so the child can choose which page they want to see. They are ideal for small children who are just starting to say words and recognise images. It also makes for a good “I spy” book for slightly little older children.

3.Time for Bed

Author: Mem Fox

Publisher: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN

Age Recommendations: 0 - 24 months

This book makes for a wonderful bedtime read. A book written in rhyming verse, it is apt for soothing the baby for a peaceful sleep time. It captures different animals putting their babies to sleep and ends with a sweet picture of a mom putting her child to bed. The charming illustrations by Jane Dyer will keep your little one engaged.

4. That’s Not My Squirrel

Author: Fiona Watt

Publisher: Usborne

Age Recommendations: 6-18 months.

This award-winning touchy-feely book is sure to become your little one’s favourite, as she runs her fingers on the fluffy tail and the soft nose of the squirrel. The series of That’s Not My… books are a great collection to introduce your child to different textures and surfaces. And she will love the bright and colourful pictures. There are about 50 different books in this series including Penguin, Otter, Unicorn, Snowman which introduces babies to new animals, vehicles and people.

5. Ten Little Ladybugs

Author: Melanie Gerth

Publisher: Little Tiger Press

Age Recommendations: 3-24 months

This tactile book introduces counting subtly, with a brilliant story line. This book also comes in a series of tadpoles and caterpillars, and babies will love to touch and feel the textures with their fingers. It’s perfect for reading time bonding between baby and parent.

6. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Author: Eric Carle

Publisher: Penguin UK

Age Recommendations: 3-24 months

A classic children’s board book, it has been one of the top sellers for a very long time. There are different versions of this book, which delicately explains the life-cycle of a butterfly. The collage-style illustrations by the author and ‘eaten’ holes are perfect for little fingers to explore. The last page comes with a picture of a colourful butterfly, and it will be your child’s favourite image for a long time to come.

7. Me…

Author: Emma Dodd

Publisher: Templar Publishing

Age Recommendations: 3-24 months

One of the most popular children’s book authors, Emma Dodd strikes a chord with the little ones. This particular book is about the love between a parent and a child. The heart-warming illustrations will make you want to collect the entire series for your little one. It talks about how a small penguin overcomes the challenges the world throws at him.

8.Wow! Said the Owl

Author: Tim Hopgood

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Age Recommendations: 3-24 months

If you are looking for a book to help teach colours to your little one, then the this delightful little book should top your list. It looks at the world from an owl’s perspective and has bright and adorable illustrations that will lift your child’s mood instantly.

9. Cheep Cheep

Pictures: Soumya Menon

Publisher: Tulika

Age Recommendations: 3-24 months

This book from an Indian publisher has brilliant illustrations with local flavour and introduces children to sounds that birds make. The rhymes in the book are derived from popular Indian rhymes and make for interesting reading with the baby.

10. Alice in Wonderland (BabyLit)

Author: Jennifer Adams

Publisher: Gibbs Smith

Age Recommendations: 3-12 months

These baby versions of English classics help teach simple concepts like opposites, flowers and colours. The beautiful stories will keep your child engaged. These are called baby literature for a reason. Our personal favourites are Alice in Wonderland and Sense and Sensibility.

11. Sometimes I Like to Curl up in a Ball

Author: Vicki Churchill

Publisher: Sterling Pub Co Inc

Age Recommendations: 3-24 months

The funny antics of an adorable little wombat in this charming book filled with lovely illustrations is sure to mesmerise your baby. The book is full of warm animal characters and friendly surroundings that the wombat lives in. Sometimes I Like to Curl Up… has a delightful rhyme and tone which you can read till your child turns six years old. You can ask your child to imitate the actions described in the book when you are reading to him. Simple actions like “jump high”, “make funny faces” and so on will put a smile on your child’s face.

12. No, David!

Author: David Shannon

Publisher: Scholastic

Age Recommendations: 6-24 months

This is one of those delightful books that never go out of style. The book is based on a story the author wrote when he was five years old, about a boy who breaks his mother’s rules. He found the book when he was an adult and turned it into a picture book. The charming illustrations by the author and poignant story will tug at your heart.

13. Head Shoulders Knees and Toes

Author: Annie Kubler

Publisher: Child's Play

Age Recommendations: 3-12 months

Your little one will learn about different body parts in a fun way with this book. It is a quick read and is to the point. You can sing along with your baby, while pointing to the different parts of the body and your baby will learn by imitating you.

14. Dear Zoo

Author: Rod Campbell

Publisher: Penguin UK

Age Recommendations: 12-18 months

All kids love pee-ka-boo activities, and this is a great way to start. This flap book with touch and feel feature introduces the baby to the game of guessing, and the element of surprise keeps them engrossed. Under each flap is hidden an animal with a simple description of the creature alongside, which the parent can read out.

15. Spot Loves His Mum

Author: Eric Hill

Publisher: Penguin UK

Age Recommendations: 12-18 months

It is about an adorable dog named Spot and his love for his mum in a flap book edition. Spot and his mom do very mundane things together, like playing hide and seek, baking cakes and reading his favourite books and they find joy in these little things. Adults can also learn a thing or two from the Spot series.

16. Little Fish

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Age Recommendations: 6-12 months

This finger puppet book is right in size for those tiny hands to hold. Babies can hold them, poke them and even play hide-and-seek of their own. It makes for an easy read and ideal to be carried along in the car read.

17. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

Author: Mem Fox

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Age Recommendations: 6-18 months

This book makes a thoughtful gift for a newborn. It shows the differences and similarities between babies born in different parts of the world. At the end of the book, the mother kisses the baby on the tip of his nose. That is one of the sweetest ways to finish a book.

18. Moo, Baa, La La La!

Author: Sandra Boynton

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Age Recommendations: 6-12 months

A board book by an extremely popular children’s author, Moo, Baa…has colourful illustrations and very little text, which makes it a blast to read aloud to babies. Both adults and little ones will fall in love with the hilarious characters in the book. A wonderful activity to do while reading this book is to get your baby to imitate the animal sounds that you make while reading.

19. Elmer

Author: David McKee

Publisher: Andersen

Age Recommendations: 6-12 months

While on the surface it is an animal book for babies, Elmer teaches children about inclusiveness and how we should celebrate difference. The beautiful textured and painted surfaces of the book make a lasting impression on the baby.

20. Giddy-up! Let's Ride!

Author: Flora McDonnell

Publisher: Candlewick

Age Recommendations: 6-12 months

This one is for parents who love to transform into animated characters while they read to their babies. The book is about different sounds on different rides including horse, camel and elephant rides. The images are vibrant and inviting for the babies and it is a good read for those just learning to identify colours.

Which one will turn out to be your baby’s favourite read? Try them out and find out for yourself. Happy reading!

The author is founder of Little Fingers at Work.